Spleen. From the Latin badius , which means reddish, also called lien or splen (from the Latin and Greek respectively), it is a lymphoid organ interspersed in the path of blood circulation, which has several functions, among which defense, hemopoiesis , hemocateresis and blood reservoir . However, despite these functions, the baso is not essential for life, because in the case of removal ( splenectomy ), its functions are performed by the other hemopoietic organs and the liver .


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  • 1 Location in the human body
  • 2 Function
  • 3 Splenectomy
  • 4 Source

Location in the human body

The spleen is a generally unique organ and the largest among the lymphoid organs . It has a soft and friable consistency so it is relatively frequently injured in abdominal trauma and causes profuse bleeding . It is located in the upper or left part of the abdominal cavity , at the level of the posterior part of the tenth rib on that side. It has the shape compared to a coffee bean, in which it distinguishes the following portions: two extremities (anterior and posterior), two edges (superior and inferior) and two faces (diaphragmatic and visceral). The bottom edge is thick, the top edge is thin and jagged (jagged). The diaphragmatic face is convex and the visceral face is concave. In the latter are the splenic hilum through which the nervous scales of this organ pass (splenic pedicle) and, in addition, it presents a series of impressions that indicate its relations with neighboring organs (gastric, renal and colic faces). The spleen is completely covered by the peritoneum , which is why it is considered an intraperitoneal organ.


It performs the defense function by acting as a blood filter that removes the particles and foreign substances that circulate dissolved in them, thanks to the phagocytic action of macrophages and the immune function of the lymphocytes that accumulate in this organ .

The function of hemopoiesis or formation of the formed elements of the blood is carried out in the fetal stage and in certain pathological states of the adult with alteration of the bone marrow .

The function of hemocateresis consists in the destruction of the degenerated elements of the blood, mainly of the erythrocytes , which is why it is considered the “cemetery of these cells “, with the consequent disintegration of the hemoglobin whose elements are metabolized, so that its prosthetic group (heme) is transported to the liver and transformed into bile pigment ( bilirubin ), and the iron released accumulates in the bone marrow and is used again in the formation of hemoglobin by erythrocytes.

The function of blood reservoir is possible due to the property of the spleen of contracting and dilating, which contributes to regulating the volume of circulating blood according to the physiological needs of the organism , which is why it is considered an “automatic blood bank”. . For example: the spleen contracts in the states of alarms (stress) and in case of acute hemorrhage .


Splenectomy, which is the medical term used to refer to the total or partial surgical removal of the spleen when it is damaged for various reasons, can be performed using two different surgical techniques: by means of open removal or by means of the laparoscopic excision .

In the first of these, the surgeon proceeds to make an incision in the middle or on the left side of the abdomen , specifically below the ribs. After locating the organ , the surgeon will remove it (in the event that the person undergoing surgery is being treated for cancer , it is possible that the abdominal lymph nodes will also be removed). Once the medical team in charge of the operation certifies that there is no bleeding in the abdomen, the incision is sutured.


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